The struggle against the looting by power companies in Nohar block of Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan is intensifying. A hunger strike in front of the SDM’s office is underway at present led by the Bijli Upbhoktha Sangarsh Samiti (electricity consumers struggle committee); this has been going on since 13th September. The Samiti decided to launch a signature campaign from house to house in every village. A petition with 10,000 signatures will be collected in the first phase to present to the Chief Minister.
The Sangarsh Samiti has warned the authorities that if their demands are not heeded they would be forced to mobilise the masses and be out protesting on the streets.
The Samiti has taken further steps in this struggle – it has submitted a letter to the Chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission asking him to pay attention to their demands. The letter carries the demand to immediately put a stop to the increase in electricity tariff. The letter has demanded that the fixed tariff being levied must be immediately withdrawn; that the first 200 units of electricity be provided free of cost; the fast running meters provided by the company be replaced by correct meters.
The Samiti has pointed out that no matter which party has ruled the state, the government has pushed for privatisation. No measures were taken against the private companies which levied arbitrary tariffs on the people. The electricity department raised the power tariff to benefit the three private power companies.
The Samiti demands that the rise in electricity rates be stopped immediately. It is a burden imposed on the state’s peasantry and a majority of jobless people. The excuse to raise the rates was that the power companies were running at a loss. The truth is that these companies did nothing to stem their losses. Nor have they done anything to prevent the scams in procurement of electricity supplies.
At the beginning of this movement, a protest was carried out 4th-12th September in front of the Gogamadhi office of the department. The demand was that the government would act in the interest of the people and not let the companies do whatever they wanted. The government must order the Electricity Department to stop the arbitrary tariff collection from the people.
Hundreds of people are taking part in the protest every day. They are determined to carry on till their demands are met. The vice-President of Lok Raj Sangathan, Shri Hanuman Prasad Sharma and other members of LRS are standing with the Sangarsh Samiti and supporting their struggle.
The people’s demands are:
The notice for security deposit is immediately withdrawn by the department
Money collected in the name of fixed service charge be stopped immediately
200 units of power be provided free to every household
Abnormal increase in electricity bills are immediately corrected
Inaccurate and fast running meters are changed and measures taken against companies manufacturing such sub-standard meters.